You’d think after properly unveiling how the J-Pop concerts factor in, Lapis Re:LiGHTs would double down on that and have Tiara decide that this is the area of curriculum she wants to focus on and gain points for. That would make the most sense. Hell, the show already established she can sing so it might as well get cracking at her idol training. But nope! What we got instead is the gang playing some variation of dodgeball for half an hour. This sport was actually introduced in the premiere and yet, seeing it here still makes me go, “What?”.
The whole tournament really reeks of fluff, more than when the gang chased after a duck if you can believe that. That said, I actually enjoyed watching this a fair amount. It’s pretty easy to understand what’s going on and being more, shall we say, action packed, it’s not too homogeneous with what we’ve seen in this show so far. I would also go as far as to say that it’s a fun and even clever way to show off Lapis‘ form of magic. Tiara manipulates grass to form a defensive wall (a surprisingly sturdy at that). Ashley seems to either freeze time or increase her agility enough to dodge close calls. Lavie can temporarily augment someone’s physical abilities by cheering them on, which Rosetta demonstrates to be quite useful despite a severe after effect of fatigue. Lynette is shown to use a tome and you get to see the pros and cons with that. The spells seem to be stronger but there’s the drawback of reciting a traditional incantation that gives away what the spell will do. It really makes you realize why something such as whistling is preferable in this world. Doing that is faster and can possess an element of surprise.
Since this episode centers so much on the tournament, characterization is pretty light here. You get some insight into Lavie and Ashley’s friendship where Ashley accidentally forgets about Lavie’s birthday and the misunderstanding creates a temporary rift between them. It’s cute though after two episodes where we really got to understand Tiara and Rosetta’s friendship, this feels less nuanced to me. This episode also introduces a couple of the other groups though they almost all frankly boil down to quirks. Angelica (Yuka Amemiya) and Lucifier (Risae Matsuda) are both cocky and butt heads more than Lavie and Ashley do. Emilia (Hazuki Hoshino) and her group are high-ranking hybrid students who come to respect Tiara’s group are playing a shockingly close game together. Everyone else who appears is kind of just there.
I will say that there are some great Tiara moments here. All her teammates keep forgetting to explain the rules of the game to her and even then, Tiara’s own obliviousness gets the best of her. The best example comes at the end when everyone takes a bath together (and yes, fan services is aplenty here). Tiara forgets that anyone who touches Emilia gets their life force drained and she almost collapses and drowns in the bath after clasping their hands together. What a great way to end the episode.
That’s the thing that’s perplexing me about Lapis Re:LiGHTs. It’s frankly been unfocused so far and yet, it’s succeeding in making me like the world and characters. Of course, I hope for the idol stuff to get the attention its due (and that’s saying something) but I’m nevertheless enjoying the show so far.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Lapis Re:LiGHTs on Funimation